Jackie Whitelaw is spot on in arguing that real change starts from the grass roots up rather than the top down when it comes to best practice (NCE 9/16 August). The Association of Consulting Engineers (ACE) has recognised this and that is why we are promoting initiatives like key performance indicators (KPI) for construction consultants and our annual Client of the Year Awards.
To change the behaviour of clients and consultants the benefits of best practice must be practically demonstrated.
Speaking to clients and consultants alike during the development of our KPIs and during the judging of our recent Client of the Year Awards, it is absolutely clear that the will exists on both sides to improve what the industry does and how it does it.
The challenge is to continue to provide opportunities for clients and the supply chain to improve their processes in a genuine spirit of partnership. In this way we can minimise the temptation to slip back into the old adversarial ways and 'the plain old bad behaviour' of which Ms Whitelaw wrote in her column.
Andy Walker, communications director, Association of Consulting Engineers, Alliance House, 12 Caxton Street, London, SW1H 0QL